FORT MYERS, Conn. (WTNH) — We are partnering with the American Red Cross this week to help with the victims of Hurricane Ian.
News 8’s Kathryn Hauser followed local Red Cross volunteers to some of the devastated neighborhoods in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. That’s where she met a Connecticut native, who is determined to rebuild after losing everything.
Driving into Fort Myers Beach, Florida, all you see is endless debris and devastation. That’s where News 8 met Chris Agee.
“This used to be our tiki bar – the bar and everything that was here is missing,” Agee said. “We have no idea where it is… as you can see the exterior walls have blown out.”
The hurricane destroyed their dream vacation home, a place they called paradise. With every side street that you turn down, you see the same thing over and over — just piles of debris personal belongings and memories on the side of the road.
A few blocks over, News 8 met Kevin Paradiso. He showed family pictures he managed to salvage in the debris. Paradiso said he grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He said his parents grew up in Stratford and then to Oxford.
“Material things are the things I’m realizing right now, they don’t matter but they hurt to lose, so I’m really hoping that we survive this,” Paradiso said.
Out of the pile of debris in front of his house, Paradiso pulled out what used to be treasured baseball cards.
“I don’t even want to say Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter are somewhere buried in here,” Paradiso said.
With his family getting him through, Paradiso said he learned what really matters, and plans to rebuild.
“We’re still here, out stuff is still here, and we’re still alive,” Paradiso said. “We just need help. A lot of people need help.”